by Beverly Clair
Staying healthy is one of those productivity hacks to file under ‘win-win.’ Win because yes, staying as fit and healthy as you can be, within the limits of your control, will indeed make you more productive.
But ‘win-win’ because doing so needn’t cost you money, nor inordinate amounts of time. It’s an investment in yourself that can perpetually feedback through a cycle of working well because you feel good and feeling good because you work well.
So why do so many of us succumb to avoidable ‘niggles’ in our health – issues that lead to tiredness and impaired results, sick days, or just a lower level of productivity in general?
The simple answer is: Bad habits. We blame our lack of health on the price of gym memberships or the apparent time clash of ‘working hard’ and ‘taking care of yourself,’ and neglect the fact that good health is largely defined by the small decisions and throwaway moments of daily life rather than a super-heroic ‘all-or-nothing’ dedication to being capital-H Healthy.
So let’s take a look at some of those habits you can alter throughout the day.
Before you go to work
There’s nothing like getting off to a good start – starting as you mean to continue. This can begin before you even get out of bed. Drinking a glass of water you’ve kept on standby overnight will begin to rehydrate you. Stretch when you get out of bed, and you will begin to warm up your muscles – reducing the chance of an unexpected strain and strengthening you body, which will help you to maintain a healthier posture throughout the day. Stretching also boosts blood supply around your body, which helps the blood to deliver nutrients and reduces soreness.
At the office
Sick days can be an appealing prospect, as long as you’re not actually sick. Nobody enjoys the snotty lethargy of a bad cold, yet we treat such incidents of unwellness as ‘bad luck’ or the thoughtlessness of others. Well, there will always be somebody in the office who doesn’t cover their mouth to cough, or neglects to wash their hands after sneezing. For your part, you can help prevent the spread of germs by cleaning your mouse, keypad, and other items that you handle, at the start of the working day. And watch where you put your hands, too. Your cell phone is a real playground for bacteria, so just leave it in your pocket when you go to the bathroom. And once bacteria gets on our hands, we have a terrible habit of spreading to our eyes and faces – so try not to touch them so often.
In your free time
The good news is, relaxing is healthy, too (ergo, productive… right?) So don’t neglect yourself in the evenings and weekends. Try to draw a clear line between work time and me-time, as checking work emails out-of-hours makes you more stressed which, in turn, affects your health in general. Treat yourself to regular changes of clean bedding, and however hard you’re working at relaxing, try to maintain a regular sleep pattern even on the weekends, since late nights and lie-ins can disrupt your cycle.